Sometimes, life just doesn’t work out the way you want it to.
Take last weekend for instance. It was Friday night and I was so excited for the weekend to come. It was my sister’s birthday AND my grandfather’s birthday, so the whole family was getting together to celebrate and I was in charge of the cake. I found out I was in charge of the cake when my sister texted me a recipe link and the words “My Birthday”. Nothing else. We communicate so easily in my family.
So Friday night I girded my loins and gathered my baking implements. I made a lovely lemonade layer cake with a lemon cream cheese frosting. It was a thing of beauty - tall and fluffy and sweet smelling. It seemed to be made of not just eggs and flour, but of laughter and joy. I couldn’t wait to place it on the family table. As I finished frosting the cake, I smiled and dreamed of the happiness this simple dessert would bring.
And then I dropped it in a sink full of dirty dish water.
Daniel has been telling people that all he heard from the kitchen was a strangled squeak of distress. I couldn’t really tell you what I said in that moment, but I can tell you that my thoughts were no longer sugar and spice. All of a sudden I felt a beast rise inside me and I snarled, “I at least need to know how it tastes!” I stuck my hand -- my whole hand -- into the non-soggy side of the cake and pulled free a fist full of pastry. I felt like I was pulling a beating heart from my enemy’s chest and devouring it whole. I turned to Daniel with fire in my eyes. “Taste this! It’s really good!”
After I finished threatening my partner with dessert, I got down to the business of finding a solution to my birthday cake pickle. I had enough ingredients for a second cake (with some clever substitutions) but there was no way I could recreate the frosting. I didn’t have the time, ingredients or patience for frosting. I’d have to think creatively about what could be done to make this birthday cake.
Though I wouldn’t want to lose another cake to the sink, this situation ended up being for the best. In my fit of rage, I got to taste the first cake and analyze what was missing. When I made my second cake, I rectified the problems and ended up making my own recipe - and it was vastly superior to the original. Instead of a lemonade layer cake with lemon cream cheese frosting, I made a lemon lime layer cake with raspberry filling and a lemon whipped cream frosting.
It was a thing of beauty. And I got to tell this story and make everyone smile. Maybe in the end, it wasn’t such a failure after all.